Single Review: Vanessa Carlton “Ordinary Day”

Ordinary Day
Album: Be Not Nobody
Year: 2002

Vanessa Carlton is inspired to live for each moment by a free-spirited boy she met in the mawkish “Ordinary Day.”

It’s a usual day full of angst and self-doubt for Carlton. While brooding she sees a boy watching the clouds in the sky. He catches her staring and asks if she would like to join him. Then, she has an epiphany without doing much of anything — people like him can, like, feel nature and stuff. She takes an immediate liking to him. (“Just a day/Just an ordinary day/Just tryin to get by/Just a boy/Just an ordinary boy/But he was looking to the sky/And as he ask if i would come along/I started to realize/That everyday you find/Just what he’s looking for/Like a shooting star he shines”).

The strings of deep thought swell for the chorus. The cute, mysterious boy takes her hand and tells her to live for the moment. He adds that her dreams can be reached. (“He said take my hand/Live while you can/Don’t you see your dreams lie right in the palm of your hand?”).

She is enthralled with his way of saying really intelligent phrases using cliched plaititudes. She finds comfort in his words and she feels like she already knows him each time she gets lost in his eyes. Isn’t this what’s called romance? (“And as he spoke, he spoke ordinary words/Although they did not feel/For I felt what I had not felt before/You’d swear those words could heal./And as I looked up into those eyes/His vision borrows mine/
And to know he’s no stranger/For I feel I’ve held him for all of time”).

Carlton overuses feel and its various tenses in the second verse. Sometimes in the same sentence, making for a confusing and convoluted listen.

The cute boy asks her to go out on a date in a theatrical manner. He wants to take her to see the stars. With the stars, time will stop for them. (“Please come with me/See what I see./Touch the stars for time will not flee/Time will not flee/Can you see?”).

The day she spent with him felt surreal. She believes it was a dream. Then, there’s a knock at her door and the cute boy is there, offering her his wisdom or a bargain on the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. (“Just a dream, just an ordinary dream/As I wake in bed/And the boy, that boy, that ordinary boy/Or was it all in my head?/Did he ask if I would come along/It all seemed so real./But as I looked to the door/I saw that boy standing there with a deal”).

She muses dreamily about the boy who taught her the meaning of life at the end. (“just a day, just an ordinary day/just tryin’ to get by/just a boy/just an ordinary boy/but he was looking to the sky”).

Carlton tries too hard to be thoughtful and poetic in “Ordinary Day.” Unfortunately, it ends up being predictable and plain.

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